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Black Widow Spider Webs

Why do they spin webs?
Black widow spiders spin webs to trap their prey.

What do they eat?
Their prey consists of a variety of insects such as ants, beetles, caterpillars, and cockroaches. The spider will also inject digestive enzymes into the insect to help soften it before eating it. In a human, this type of process takes place internally. After a black widow has consumed its prey, its body actually elongates as the stomach expands.

If prey is scarce, a black widow, like many spiders, is capable of surviving for many months without food, sometimes even as much as a year. The spider has internal cavities that are able to store remnants of food.

What do the webs look like?
These webs are very irregular with no obvious pattern and look like a mass of fibers, though the silk is quite strong. An average web is about one foot across and has a small spot in the middle where the spider will wait for its prey.

Where do they make the webs?
A web is usually situated near the ground in a dark, sheltered location. Outside, black widows usually make their webs in protected areas, such as woodpiles, under decks and rocks, in tree stumps or other hollow places. They prefer dry areas like sheds, barns, woodpiles, or barrels.

Inside, these spiders are usually found in low-traffic areas like basements, crawl spaces, or garages. They prefer areas that are cluttered because they can find more insects to eat.

Occupied by females most of the time
The female will spend time in the web during the day and rarely leaves voluntarily. She tends to hang upside down in the web, which exposes her hourglass marking that serves as a warning to predators.

If a female has egg sacs in her web, she will stand guard against predators and is more likely to attack at that time.